The Bank Hotel, Sydney, Australia – Review

.tags After a 5 million dollar renovation which saw this local Sydney Bar out of business for more than a year, a terrible electrical fire on the 4th of July ruined all its electrical appliances. Jason Ryan, part owner and licensee, said that the damage was extensive.

But finally it is good to see that this local favourite is back on track – and is soon becoming a must go Sydney Bar!

Unfortunately for fans of its previous look, the Bank Hotel is today jumping up the ‘0contemporary & fancy ladder’. In 2008 it introduced the ‘Break the Bank DJ Competition’ in which young upcoming talent had a chance to rock the boat in the Velvet room or the Terrace. It is always great to see a Bar take pride and care by helping advancing the careers of local musicians.

The Bar staff are friendly… sometimes too friendly. One bar tender asked me for my friend’s name. I think her drunken state seemed very appealing to him. Free drink after free drink he finally steals her number from another friend. But on the whole they are always happy to test their skills and make something extra special just for you. The range of drinks being quite common except for the occasional interesting Beer – Budweiser, Stella, Kirin – but nothing you couldn’t find anywhere else.

This Sydney Bar does have extensive cocktail list. Since this is Newtown one has to try a New n Town: smashed lemon grass in lime and (humm sugar) with gin, Licor 43 and finally a little bit of apple juice, just to top it off. A little bit of Asian influence, this is a must have.

What is amazing about this place is that all the rooms are different – the place ranges from family feel, to hip & social, to sexy, then to the down right sleazy. What a great way to cater for 90% of the population… But the fun side of this place is its downfall. I think they got the order of the above a bit wrong (but maybe that is just because I don’t fit in the first rooms demographic).

One of my personal experiences of this Bar was on a Tuesday night. Not the best night out I know, but I left still keen for a good time. We headed to the Banks Hotel in Newtown to welcome a friend back to Australia. Expecting some fancy bar with an amazing ambience (the person organizing it being very metro) I am surprised to find it looks more like an every day pub than a bar. The ambience and smell of old man full of libido but lacking in energy fill the room. The decor is poor and the colours of maroon smother the room.

Remember first impressions are not always correct – and that is true for the Bank Hotel. Venturing further into its heart I discover it has a back bar full of light and glassy floors and walls – the night out got better.

But it does not end here, for behind the entire pub atmosphere lays a huge terrace overlooking their famous Sumalee Thai full of lights hanging from trees. The restaurant atmosphere oozes its way up to the bar filling it with excitement and energy. Sandstone walls and wooden tables in the open air teleport you to the middle of France during a crushing hot summer night. What a romantic feel.

The wooden deck/terrace is welcoming and very social – it is easy to talk to people and join groups and you never run out of seats.

Upstairs the Velvet room, sensual and erotic, transforms you into a born Hugh Hefner, while still remaining hip. Get a feel of the Playboy mention without having to watch all of the Girls Next Door.

Problem being: for those Nightclub Enthusiasts or Drink Lovers who are not flexible enough to fit into all these rooms (figuratively speaking), the Bar’s great range might put off some people. One thing I know about Australian Bars and Nightclubs is that, like the French proverb holds: those who resemble each other, assemble with each other. The Bank Hotel is definitely challenging that theory!

As for my friend – the bar tender texted but never asked her out. Disappointment or relief who knows…